Metro Gainesville continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state despite rising one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.2 percent in December, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
And the steady local economy is the biggest reason that Gainesville was named the 10th best small city for jobs and income growth in 2016 by the Milken Institute.
“The long-term trend for the Gainesville-Hall County metro area continues to reflect both low unemployment … and steady growth of participants in the workforce,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
The jobless rate rose last month as the labor force grew and the number of new layoffs increased, according to the GDOL.
The labor force, which includes the unemployed who are actively looking for jobs, grew by 492 to 97,363. The number of jobless residents rose by 150 to 4,093, while the number employed increased by 342 to 93,270.
Jobs increased by 1,800, or 2.1 percent, year-over-year.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s unemployment rate for December was 5.4 percent.
The Milken Institute’s 2016 Best Performing Cities study released in December saw Gainesville rise 17 spots from the previous year thanks to gains in jobs and income growth, with food manufacturing and processing as a major and expanding source of employment.
“Our business community is certainly growing and continues to outpace both the state and nation,” Evans said. “The metro was the top Georgia area cited in the (Milken Institute) study and ranked fourth in the nation for job creation.”
According to the study, “Access to Atlanta makes Gainesville competitive with other manufacturing hubs and allows easier integration into supply chains. Increasing employment is creating a demand that housing developers are starting to fill.”